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In the Drops: Racy Schwalbe gravel tyres, a Syncros pump called Vernon, Sennheiser earbuds and a summer of cricket

Kit and content highlights from the last week at Cyclist

Sam Challis
1 Jul 2022

Today’s the day. The Tour de France will shortly be getting underway, so as you can imagine, Tour-fever has well and truly enveloped the Cyclist team and this week’s content has heavily reflected that.

We kicked off this week with the biggies: articles on how to watch the Tour and a rundown of everything you need to know about 2022’s edition of the race.

We also looked back at Bradley Wiggins’ legacy 10 years after his historic win at the race, and certain members of the team volunteered to let hindsight make a fool out of them by offering up their Tour de France 2022 predictions.

A nice piece on Tour-specific switch-out kits went live on Thursday, as did a look at the Brits in the Tour this year.

Things were far from quiet on the tech front though, with brands scrambling to officially recognise gear that the pros will be using in the race.

Trek launched a new Madone SLR, Scott did the same with a new Foil RC and Specialized released a trio of helmets too.

Arguably the biggest product release won’t be seen at pro level however. Shimano updated its venerable 105 groupset, making it 12-speed and semi-wireless electronic just like Ultegra and Dura-Ace.

What a week. And you lucky lot have got In the Drops to top it off.

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Schwalbe G-One RS tyres

In what’s beginning to become a bit of a pattern, Schwalbe released another go-fast gravel tyre just before gravel riding’s premier event, Unbound, took place back in early June among the flinty hills of Kansas.

Schwalbe says the G-One RS has 20% less rolling resistance than the G-One R released just before 2021’s event, courtesy of a semi-slick centre tread said to be inspired by the brand’s X-One Speed cyclocross tyre.

The distinctive ‘Boomerang’ knobs of the G-One R are still in evidence on the RS, but have been relegated to the outer edges of the tyre tread to boost traction and cornering grip.

Schwalbe says the fish-scale like centre portion helps boost braking power and steering grip to improve speed, although it’s likely the semi-slick nature of the pattern is what lets the tyre roll quickly.

Low rolling resistance is all well and good but a puncture will make any tyre slow, so Schwalbe has included its V-Guard protection under the centre tread in the hope of letting the tyre balance speed and suppleness with robustness.

It’s a tricky act to balance but you could say that the early signs suggest Schwalbe has pulled it off rather well. Shortly after its unveiling, pro racer Ivar Slik rode the tyre to Unbound glory.


Sennheiser Sport True Wireless earbuds

Listening to music while riding your bike is a contentious topic but Sennheiser’s latest earbuds have a nifty feature that may facilitate a ‘best of both worlds’ situation.

Sennheiser says the ear buds can be set up to either let in ambient sound or block it out, depending on the way the earbud’s ‘Adapatable Acoustic’ settings are configured with Sennheiser’s open or closed ear adapters.

Setting the earbuds to ‘Aware EQ’ and fitting the open ear adapters reportedly reduce body-borne noise and allow some ambient sound in to improve the user’s situational awareness. This would be a huge advantage on an outdoor ride.

Conversely, Sennheiser says switching the earbuds to their ‘Focus EQ’ setting and fitting the closed ear adapters blocks out noise from the external environment – which would be ideal if the rider needs to drown out a noisy turbo trainer, for example.

The versatility of the sound settings is matched to Sennheiser’s well-regarded audio quality and a claimed nine-hour battery life.

The neat little chest the earbuds are housed in is said to provide a further 18 hours of run time, meaning the rider is never unlikely to be without the option of music, wherever they are riding.


Syncros Vernon 2.0 Digital floor pump

The Syncros Vernon 2.0 Digital floor pump may not look flash, but it aims to do all the fundamental stuff well.

It doesn't drop the ball on any of a floor pump’s general design elements: it has a wide, sturdy steel base and barrel for stability and longevity, a nicely shaped composite handle for comfort and a decent length hose.

The finer details look to be well considered too – the smaller sub-componentry (seals, levers, etc) seem high quality and the pump’s digital gauge is set up by the handle rather than at the base to make it easier to read.

The design of the pump head is a particular highlight – its lever makes it easy to achieve a secure clamp on a valve and a labelled, double-sided threaded insert caters for both Presta and Schrader variants.

Its smart combination of solid features all point towards ol’ Vern being a pump that’ll be a dependable addition to your garage.


What we’re into this week: Cricket

I know it’s not really on-brand to talk about another sport, particularly on the day that cycling’s most important three weeks of the year begin, but this summer has rekindled my love for cricket.

We are in good shape at the top of the sport, England having just completed an enthralling but eventually comprehensive 3-0 win over New Zealand in the first home test match series of the year, and at a local level I have been spending my Saturday afternoons playing back at the club where I (mis)spent much of my youth.

Credit: Peter Adams via Getty

Before you break out the pitchforks and torches, I draw a lot of parallels between cycling and cricket, which I think explains my affinity for both sports. Both are a slow-burn affair, where momentum can ebb and flow and moves made early only really tell much later in the contest.

You can make both sports a lot about the equipment you use too – just as a proper climber needs a light bike, a proper batsmen must use a decent quality bit of willow – even though in both instances ultimately the performance is down to the talent of the individual.

I’ll admit to an irreconcilable gulf in physicality though. Where the intensity of an event like the Tour exacts a physiological toll on its participants bordering on the inhumane, cricketers enjoy scheduled breaks where they get to have a sit down, choose from a selection of homemade cakes and drink tea.

But I think it’s the disparity just as much as the similarity that appeals. After all, variety is the spice of life.

So if watching emaciated Lycra-clad athletes begins to lose its sheen this summer or you don’t fancy time in the saddle yourself, consider flicking the channel to watch a bunch of altogether sturdier sportspeople in whites throw and hit a small ball about, or get down to your local club to do the same. Who knows, you might end up enjoying it just as much as I do.

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